Melodrama, Crisis in Theatre

CRISIS in THEATRE

A little history which influenced theatre:
1789-1799 The French Revolution
1780-1820 The European Industrial Revolution
1830-1848 The II French Revolution
1859 ‘Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin

  • Invention of lightning- focus turned to the stage, performance started to have more attention (before it had been smh going on for background while people spent time)
  • Pieces at candlelight rarely used real furniture, it was all drawn on cloths
  • The start of using the lights forced to start using real things, because the paintings didn’t look believable if they were lit to well
  • audience started feeling boredom, it was not truthful and believable, when all the stagecraft was 2 dimensional, in particular it looked extremely odd whilst real 3D people acted within this 2D world
  • firstly theatres started to move step by step, using some real elements and some painted, which made the appearance even stranger
  • Finally they needed to change the ways the stagecraft was used to be done for centuries
MELODRAMA
  • the aim is to entertain people
  • used mainly good vs evil struggle
  • mainly following same/similar patterns of storyline
  • trying to solve the problem of flat and real stagecraft crisis with improving the realistic items
  • used all kinds of effects to look spectacular to impress the audience and get money from the main theatre lovers and sponsors aristocrats
  • photography and film are starting to change the reputation of theatre, which is starting to look dull
  • theatre tries to get better and use more interesting and believable ways to keep the audience
Three unities of theatre – place, action and time
Six elements of melodrama (in the order of importance): plot, character, thought, diction, song, spectacle
Two parts of a melodramatic play: complication- beginning and revealing the problem; Unravelling- solving the problem
Characters of a melodramatic play: good or evil, purely and throughly, without any doubts
The impact of the crisis to the theatre:
  • crisis of stagecraft- some things were real, others painted, which occurred a conflict and made the play look confusing and odd
  • the acting style was limited, based on gestures; now started to discover the realistic acting style
  • Inventing the lights changed the focus of the theatre- stage was in the centre of attention, the audience started to actually listen and see what the play is about (before it was just mere entertainment while spending times with their accompanies
  • C. Darwin’s theory of the origin of species changed society’s beliefs, religion lost it’s power-thearte became more secular and free
  • audiences were changing- theatre was not only the rich people’s fun
  • change of the audience’s expectations- theatre ti get more believable, more true to life; experience smth which was not real, but would feel like it could be
  • theatre is trying to look realistic, although there are yet a lot of things you could recognise imitation
  • The Great Train Robbery (one of the very first films) tried to mix naturalism and melodrama
  • Theatre and film starts to move straight forwards realism and naturalism

SENTIMENTALISM- 18th century, was popular before melodrama- about making an utopia of the “perfect world” where everyone is good and beautiful

MELODRAMA- came after sentimentalism, aim is to entertain, people figured that the world is not as good as they have imagined, the never-ending struggle of good and evil
ROMANTICISM- revolt against the classicism, to make art free; about expression and feelings. Romanticism brought violent actions on stage while TRAGEDY only talked about it in speeches.
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